Cradles of civilization
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CRADLES OF CIVILIZATION. Nile river valley in Egypt Tigris/Euphrates river valley in Iraq Indus river valley in South Asia Huang He river valley in East Asia. 5 Characteristics of Civilization. 1. People have advanced technical skills

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Cradles of civilization l.jpg

  • Nile river valley in Egypt

  • Tigris/Euphrates river valley in Iraq

  • Indus river valley in South Asia

  • Huang He river valley in East Asia

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5 Characteristics of Civilization

1. People have advanced technical skills

2. A specialization of labor exists

3. Cities and governments exist

4. A form of written language exists

5. A calendar exists

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People Have Advanced Technical Skills

  • Where there is a dependable food supply, some time can be used to refine skills and become creative

  • Examples:Metalworking (copper + tin = bronze), Raft/boat building, Weaving (invented loom), Advanced Toolmaking, etc.

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A Specialization of Labor Exists

  • With extra food, fewer men & women had to farm & could earn a living in a specialized field

  • Examples: Artisans (workers skilled in a craft), Merchants, Traders, Weavers, Smiths, Sailors, Fishers

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Cities and Government Exist

  • The first cities needed a way of supervising and protecting agriculture and trade

  • Examples: Officials needed to oversee collection, storage, distribution of farming surpluses & to organize labor force for irrigation systems; Professional soldiers needed to guard territory and trade routes

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A Form of Written Language Exists

  • With the development of agriculture, there are large complex communities, and a need to pass on or preserve information

  • Examples: Record amounts of grain, Water for irrigation, Livestock, etc.

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How Did Written Language Develop?

  • PICTOGRAMS: - a picture represents a thing ex: “tree”

  • IDEOGRAMS: a picture stands for an idea

    ex: “wealth”

  • PHONOGRAMS: a picture stands for a sound, usually a syllable

    ex: “tree” sound in “treason”

  • ALPHABET: a sign represents a single consonant or vowel

    ex: “t” represents first sound in “tree”

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A Calendar Exists

  • Farmers needed to know when seasons would change, so they observed the sun and moon

  • Examples: Farmers would know when to plant and when to harvest

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Ancient Egypt

  • One of the world’s first civilizations developed along the banks of the Nile River in northeast Africa.

  • The Nile is the world’s longest river at 4160 miles and passes over 6 cataracts or waterfalls.

  • As early at 5000 BCE nomadic hunter gathers settled by the Nile and took up farming.

  • The Nile provided for fish, geese and ducks as well.

  • Reeds growing on the banks of the Nile were used to weave rope, make sandals, baskets and later used as a form of writing material.

  • (Papyrus)

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Uniting Egypt

Protected from invasion by deserts and cataracts the early farming villages on the Nile prospered. This led to strong leaders coming to power uniting small villages into small kingdoms or monarchies, each under control of a king.

By 4000 BCE ancient Egypt consisted of two large kingdoms

Lower Egypt in the north in the Nile Delta

Upper Egypt in the south in the Nile Valley

3000 BCE Narmer or Menes a king of Upper Egypt led forced from the south to the north to conquer Lower Egypt, he then ruled lower and Upper Egypt from his capital at Memphis (No not that Memphis)

This began the rule of the Dynasties, rule by one family, in Egypt, from 3000 BCE to 3323 BCE

The Dynasties of Ancient Egypt are divided into three periods, Old, Middle and New Kingdoms.

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The Old Kingdom

  • 2700 BCE to 2200BCE

  • At first the lower and upper kingdoms kept their own identities, but over time a strong national government was build and formed the basic features of a civilization. Capital was at Memphis.

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The Middle Kingdom

  • 2200 BCE to 1700 BCE

  • The stable period of the old kingdom ended with nobles fighting each other for control of Egypt. Around 2050 BCE a new dynasty reunited Egypt and created a capital at Thebes.

  • This new dynasty became as powerful as the old. Creating canals, conquering lands and expanding trade.

  • In the 1700’s BCE local leaders again started to challenge the king’s power, at the same time Hyksos from western Asia invaded and using copper weapons and horse drawn chariots defeated the Egyptians and created their own dynasty that lasted 110 years.

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The New Kingdom

  • The Egyptians under Ahmose defeated the Hyksos and became the first leader of the New Kingdom, he and others that followed him took the title of Pharaoh or “great house of the king”

  • Ahmose rebuilt temples and reorganized trade. Following Ahmose came pharaohs who brought more lands under Egyptian rule:

  • The scope of the empire allowed for more commerce with conquered territories as well as cultural diffusion within the empire.

    • What is Cultural Diffusion?

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Technological Advances of the Egyptians

  • Written language, Hieroglyphics collections of proverbs, “The Book of the Dead”, on how to reach a happy afterlife.

  • Architecture, Pyramids, temples

  • Mathematics, allowed for calculate area and volume as well as principals of geometry. (Think Pyramids)

  • They created a 365 day calendar based on the moon and Sirius, the bright Dog Star. (Not XM but you get the idea where they got the name)

  • Egyptian doctors learned much of anatomy from embalming practices as well as using splints, compression and bandages.

  • Many other cultures learned their medical practices from the Egyptians.

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Thutmose III

  • Reclaimed throne when Hatshepsut died

  • mighty warrior!

  • Conquered Syria

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  • Amenhotep IV changed his name to honor his god Aton

  • tried to change Egyptian religion to monotheism

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  • Son of Akhenaton; boy king

  • religion was changed back

  • tomb found in 1922 by Howard Carter; was almost untouched!!!!!

  • Evidence of the great wealth of the Egyptians

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Ramses II

  • Successfully fought against the Hittites

  • had 100 children!

  • Last great pharaoh

  • maybe the pharaoh during Moses…

  • built Abu Simbel

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Fertile Crescent/Mesopotamia

  • 5000 BCE Herders migrated north from the Arabian Peninsula escaping low rainfall and drought

  • Highlanders of the area that is now Turkey went south away from poor weather and war.

  • Both groups ended up in a crescent shaped area from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf, known as the Fertile Crescent.

  • Many settled in Mesopotamia “land between two rivers”, a plain between the Tigres and Euphrates rivers.

  • The two rivers did not have the regular seasonal flooding of the Nile

    • The people had to deal with this and created dams, canals and ditches to aid in their need for water for irrigation.

    • By 4000 BCE they were able to produce food in abundance.

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  • 3500 BCE Sumerians form Asia Minor arrived in Mesopotamia and settled in the lower part of the Tigris Euphrates valley at Sumer.

  • There they created 12 city-states with populations of 20,000-250,000

  • Build Ziggurats in each city-state.

  • Each governed them selves independently.

  • With a need to keep the city-state secure form invasion and to aid in disputes over land and water rights, city-states chose their own military leaders, which ruled like kings -> led to hierarchical rule.

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Sumerians Con’t

  • Family life was regulated extensively

  • Men had great authority in the home

  • They could sell their wife and children to pay depts.

  • Men could divorce their wives for the slightest things.

  • Women did have some control and could divorce, but with stricter rules and could own property like Egyptian women.

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  • Sumerian form of writing using pictograms, usually written on clay tablets.

  • Sumerians learned to write in schools called eddubas

  • Gilgamesh 1850 BCE epic of a godlike man the preformed heroic deeds.

  • Historians believe this to be the oldest story in the world.

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Sumerians Gods and Belief system

  • Sumerians were Polytheistic

  • Each deity presided over a natural force, moon, air, etc.

  • An- responsible for seasons, chief deity.

  • Enlil god of wind and agriculture.

  • Each city-state worshiped all, but each had one they claimed as their own.

  • Sumerians felt the gods were selfish and didn’t care about human kind.

  • If angered the gods would punish humans.

  • Did not believe in a happy after life, only a dark underworld after death.

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Sumerian Inventions

  • Wagon wheel, to east transportation

  • Arch, to make sturdier buildings

  • Number system based on 60

  • 12-month calendar based on the moons cycles

  • Metal plow

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First Mesopotamian Empires


  • Kingdom of Akkad in northern Mesopotamia

  • Sargon I leader came to power in 2300 BCE

  • Started military conquest for expansion

  • United all of the city states

  • His grandson ruled successfully, but after him, the empire disintegrated.

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First Mesopotamian Empires


  • Northern Syria

  • Taken over by Sargon’s grandson.

  • Highly developed society.

  • Traded with the Egyptians.

  • King was elected for 7-year terms.

  • Welfare for the poor.

  • Form of impeachment of the king

  • Declined after 2000 BCE.

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First Mesopotamian Empires

Babylonian Empire

  • Amarites from Western Syria over ran the Sumerian centers in Mesopotamia.

  • Hammurabi came to power and put down all other rulers and took control of entire region.

  • Started a new tax system, rebuilt canals, and created a strong government.

  • Hammurabi created a strict code of 282 laws that governed all daily life.

    • Strict punishment, “an eye for an eye…”

    • Laws for different classes with varied punishment, more severe for crimes against nobles as opposed to slaves.

  • King, priest, nobles ->merchants, artisans -> slaves

  • Upon Hammurabi’s death, the empire declined, Mesopotamia divided once again and finally fell to the Hittites from Asian Minor, who invaded in 1800BC.

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Successive empires

  • The region of Mesopotamia was ruled by a variety of peoples including the Hittites, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, and eventually was conquered by the Arabs.

  • Today it lies mostly in the country of Iraq, which is a Muslim country